Sunday, November 23, 2014

Color on a rainy November day

Why is it that when life is gearing up to be very busy, all I suddenly want to do is paint?!?
Oh well, it's ok with me, especially when the result is such an intense wolf face! Love it!! He looks straight into my soul it seems.
This following week is going to be busy and so much fun. We are getting ready for Thanksgiving, my very favorite american holiday and then for family coming to visit.
And the week after we are all leaving together to cruise the Caribbean for a while. I can't wait!! But it's still more than week before that happens and there's much to do to get the house ready for our house/pet sitter.
And there's still more to paint! I have another one in the works as I'm writing this. I might even get it finished today... The next one is less intense and more playful again.
And here...drumroll please...are my new business cards! I love them!! These are from and they do such a great job.

I leave you with a wish for a color-filled week for you! If you celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy this time of family, friends and abundant food. And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, still enjoy your family, friends and abundant food.

With much love and gratitude,


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Moments in time

A new painting, already sold and traveling to it's new home later this week. This one makes my heart very happy!
Ramses saying: "Good morning! Now feed me!!!"
Winslow and his buddy Zachy keeping me company while I paint.
A cozy evening by the fire.
Whole wheat pancakes with wild Maine blueberries for breakfast last weekend.
Mussels and homemade bread for dinner a couple of nights ago.
Evidence of painting.
Two of my favorite things. Knitting and painting.
My art on a tote bag. Isn't it fun?!
My art on my iPhone. Eeeek!!!! Can you tell I'm excited! I got these items through my Society6 shop.
I hope your week is filled with many fun moments!! I'm going to bundle up now and take Winslow and Zachy out for a walk in the cold.

Much love,


Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Epiphany...of sorts....

Have you ever had an epiphany about something you've really known for a long time? But suddenly you KNOW it? That's what happened to me yesterday. Yesterday's blog post ended up being quite cathartic for me. I think I had to write this down so it could get out.
And many of your comments and e-mails encouraged me to move forward and stop listening to those old tapes. As if it were that simple...
And then it occurred to me: it IS that simple! Not always easy, but just that simple. In order for things to change and for me to live the life I came here to live, I have to move forward. I'm almost 50 years old - why do I keep listening to messages from my past? They are now totally out of context and need to be put to rest.
If I want to live MY life, I need to start giving myself the messages I wish I had received as a child. I need to start loving myself - all of me! Body and mind and spirit! Wow, there's a revelation... also quite simple!
Simple, but HUGE!
Loving myself.
Flaws and all!
Moods and all!
Hormones and all!
Curves and all!
Cellulite and all!
Insecurities and all!
Awesomeness and all!
Kind spirit and all!
Sensitivity and all!
Weirdness and all!
Guilt and all!
Inner Artist and all!
Softness and all!
Loving heart and all!
And all!!
I'm willing to do it! I've been on the cusp of living my authentic life for so long, I'm ready! I was born ready, as they say! And even though I got sidetracked for a few years, I'm ready again!
Thank you, friends! For being there. For witnessing. For encouraging. For loving me. For listening. For indulging me as I find my way. But mostly for being there...

With immense love and gratitude,

P.S. I'll have more happy art to show soon. I'm planning to get my hands "dirty" with paint today.

P.P.S. When I was in school we had to write with a fountain pen. It was the worst when it leaked and I got ink all over my hands. Now it's the best when after painting my hands are all colorful... :)

P.P.P.S. All photos are from my walk with Winslow and his buddy Zachy (we are dog sitting for a friend) this morning. Even though two dogs were pulling on my arms, I managed to snap a few photos for the gorgeous foliage right now! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thought Swirls

Re-examine all that you have been told.....dismiss that which insults your soul.
~Walt Whitman
I saw this (somewhat paraphrased) quote by Walt Whitman on one of local artist Panhandle Slim's fabulous paintings yesterday and I was stopped in my tracks. I feel as though that is what I've been doing for years. I have learned so much growing up - especially in school - that was not helpful, plain wrong and often even harmful and now I'm trying to unlearn it. Boy, is that ever hard!!
There are rare days when those old voices are quiet and I can go about being myself and then other days when all I hear are those old tapes playing in my head. I KNOW they are not true, but I still can't shut them up for good. Do you know what I'm talking about?
I was a "good girl," mostly obedient and trying to please those in charge. I've come to the conclusion that obedient children will have it so much harder later in life. I wish I had been rebellious. That I had questioned what I was being told as "the truth" and that I had spoken up for myself! Instead I was a silent receiver of anything and everything. That said, I always knew my own personal truth, but I learned to hide it and hide it well. It's still hard for me to let it out, to show my true colors, especially around those who have known me all my life.
Those old tapes - those familiar voices that only exist in my head anymore, those comments that were made on the fly by someone, long forgotten by them, but forever remembered and internalized by me - I know they lie to me, but a little part of me always wonders if they aren't true after all. They compare me to others (never favorably), they question my value as a human, they criticize my body (oh, do they ever criticize my body - that's going to be a whole other blog post), they make me think that no matter what, it's never enough and never ever good enough.
By now those voices of people from days past have become my own voice in the present and I find it hard to sort out what is really me and what was simply dumped on me. When I got older, I did realize that those adults around me were mostly clueless when it came to life, but those messages were already in my brain, eating away at my self-confidence, making me doubt myself every step of the way.
I watch people who are confident in who they are, who are freely themselves no matter how weird, who love themselves ... and I wonder what that would feel like.  I wonder if I'll ever get there.
I will have family visiting in a few weeks and I am so excited about that. But that nagging part of myself is wondering if I'll be "perfect" enough. Will I fall short of expectations? Stupid, right? I know, but still...
A dear friend of mine is writing a book on perfectionism and we've had some great conversations. I realize that much of my perfectionism was birthed in Kindergarten and elementary school. My teachers had such an impact on me - and not a good one. I learned to do everything just so, to follow the rules, not to question, to be quiet and to always color inside the lines. That's how I've lived most of my life!
I think my way of painting is helping me undo a lot of that early damage! Instead of coloring inside the lines I paint with brilliant colors mixing and flowing and overlapping. No lines. Much fluidity. Nothing predictable. A beautiful mess. And the animal spirits that appear on my canvases are helping me heal as I connect with them, helping me on my journey to uncover my true self.
Speaking of animal spirits, some of my greatest teachers are right here! Our pets are such wonderful examples for enjoying life, accepting what is right now, relaxing, loving and being playful. I think I'll cuddle Winslow for a while and then go play with color...

I wish for you a beautiful Wednesday and leave you with much love and appreciation!

P.S. I should add (as pointed out by my sister, a most gifted elementary school teacher and beloved by her students) that I wasn't talking about teachers in general, just about the four I had in kindergarten and elementary school. They were of a different era and lessons were taught so differently than they are today... 

Monday, November 10, 2014

La Boqueria - Food Market in Barcelona

While writing down the Paella recipe it occurred to me that I never really shared any pictures of our last Europe travels in France and Spain. It seems like it was just yesterday and at the same time ages ago. Why does time seem to move so darn fast?!
My very favorite place we visited was La Boceria in Barcelona, a food market just off of La Rambla, the main tourist street in central Barcelona.  I admit it, I have a thing for beautiful markets.
If you love to eat and cook like we do, then a market like that is a feast for the eyes as well as the nose and the taste buds!
And visiting one of these markets in other countries gives you such an insight into what foods are regularly consumed that we might not touch at all... I spared you a few of the very graphic photos of whole sheep heads! I think some things you have to grow up with to really appreciate. I did not appreciate those!
Ahhhh, look at that fruit - a riot of color.
Can I have one of each, please?

Barcelona, of course, is famous for the Iberico hams and I ate plenty! I love cured meats - something I definitely grew up eating a lot of in Germany.

You could even buy paper cones filled with shavings of ham on the street for a quick snack. That's my kind of snacking...

The other local food we ate plenty of was anything prepared with salt cod, or bacalao. Delicious!!
That reminds me that I have some in the pantry. I brought back a few cookbooks from Spain and can probably find an excellent recipe. Must remember!!
The seafood in general was amazing!! Fresh and so much variety. We certainly ate our fill on this trip!

And here, friends, is my all-time favorite spot of the whole vacation: the Pinotxo Bar at the market.
Daniel recognized this wonderful gentleman from a photo in our Rick Steves guidebook and we patiently waited until a couple of seats became vacant.
When he took our order, he simply asked if we wanted seafood or meat and when we both answered seafood, he took a look at us, nodded his head and went off to put in our order. The food was amazing!! Big shrimp as a starter, followed by a delicious fish entree.
Somehow he knew exactly what we would like. I could have stayed for years... Seriously!! 
Actually, there are not many places I would move to for a certain time period, but Barcelona I would! It's such a beautiful city, right on the water. I'll have to share more photos with you...

For today I leave you with much love!

P.S. I've been painting again and will have some art to show you soon.

P.P.S. I'm also knitting like a fiend and need to take a photo of all my projects in the works on big fat needles, smaller needles and on some that feel like I'm knitting with toothpicks.